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53. And so he died,1 at Aegium, while general for the seventeenth time, and the Achaeans were very desirous that he should have burial there and memorials befitting his life. But the Sicyonians regarded it as a calamity that he should not be buried in their city, and persuaded the Achaeans to surrender his body to them. [2] They had, however, an ancient law that no one should be buried inside the city walls, and the law was supported by strong feelings of superstition. So they sent to Delphi to get advice in the matter from the Pythian priestess, and she gave them the following oracular answer:—
Would'st thou, O Sicyon, pay Aratus lasting honour for the lives he saved,
And join in pious funeral rites for thy departed lord?
Know that the place which vexes or is vexed by him
Is sacrilegious, be it in earth or sky or sea.
[3] When the oracle was brought to them the Achaeans were all delighted, and the Sicyonians, in particular, changing their mourning into festival, at once put on garlands and white raiment and brought the body of Aratus from Aegium into their city, amid hymns of praise and choral dances; and choosing out a commanding place, they buried him there, calling him founder and saviour of the city. [4] And the place is called to this day Arateium, and yearly sacrifices are made to Aratus there, one on the day when he freed the city from its tyranny—the fifth day of the month Daesius (which the Athenians call Anthestenon), which sacrifice has the name Soteria, and one on the day of the month when, according to the records, he was born. The first of these sacrifices was performed by the priest of Zeus the Saviour; the second by the priest of Aratus, who wore a headband, not pure white but purple and white, [5] and hymns with accompaniment of lyre were sung by the artists of Dionysus, and the gymnasiarch took part in the procession, at the head of the boys and young men of military age; then followed the councillors wearing garlands, and all other citizens who desired. Of these ceremonial rites the Sicyonians still preserve slight traces, celebrated on the same days of the year, but most of them, owing to the passage of time and the pressure of other matters, have lapsed.

1 In 213 B.C.

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